Aug. 31, 2022 – German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin first defined “shopping addiction” in the early 1900s, per a 2012 review (PDF). He dubbed this disorder as “oniomania,” from the Greek words onios, (meaning “for sale”) and mania (meaning “madness”). It was defined as a type of impulsive behavior similar to kleptomania. Since then, people have used “shopping addiction” interchangeably with related terms such as “compulsive shopping,” “compulsive buying,” and “uncontrolled buying” to describe this behavioral disorder.

Problematic shopping addiction or compulsive buying, for example, is when a person continues to buy new things, regardless of whether they can afford them, says Pareen Sehat, a registered clinical counselor and clinical director at Well Beings Counselling in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “They may face financial difficulties, but these negative effects still don’t stop them from shopping.”


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